Call for more training initiatives for fishing crew in wake of Tit Bonhomme tragedy

The head of the Irish Fishermen’s Organisation has said training initiatives for fishing crew needed to be available to everyone, regardless of nationality.

Edward (Ebby) Sheehan made the point after the inquest into the deaths of five members of the Tit Bonhomme, which smashed into rocks on Adam’s Island on Jan 15 last year.

During the inquest, expert witness, Eoghan O’Toole, a marine surveyor with the Department of Transport, said compliance with safety certification on smaller fishing boats was below 50%.

He also outlined some theories behind why the vessel shifted “significantly” on its course at 5.29am, hitting Adam’s island six minutes later, stating that it was almost certain there was “some human input” in the change of direction.

Hugh O’Keeffe, for the sole survivor, Abdelbaky Mohamed, and the estates of the three other Egyptian crew members on board had questioned the level of training available to non- Irish nationals working in the fishing industry and suggested to the jury they consider recommendation on the issue.

He said: “I would agree with that — whatever training is available should be available to everybody, regardless of nationality.”

He said a number of theories were possible as to the cause of the change of course on board, but that it was impossible to know exactly what had occurred.

“I would very rarely be lost for words but in this instance I would be,” he said of other lessons that could be learned from the tragedy.

Two 999 calls were made from the trawler, but no message was sent by either the DSC (Digital Selective Calling) radio or the McMurdo radio on board.

The inquest heard that following impact, batteries were strewn on the floor of the wheelhouse. Similarly, the water-activated distress signal did not issue.

Mr Sheehan said the circumstances on board and the ferocious weather conditions were likely to have raised problems with operating the equipment.

More on this topic

Tit Bonhomme 'had sudden change in direction', inquest toldTit Bonhomme 'had sudden change in direction', inquest told

Search for missing seamen to be wound downSearch for missing seamen to be wound down


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